Speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities in micro-architecture processors have raised concerns about the security of Intel SGX. To understand clearly the security impact of this vulnerability against SGX, this paper makes the following studies: First, to demonstrate the feasibility of the attacks, we present SgxPectre Attacks (the SGX-variants of Spectre attacks) that exploit speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities to subvert the confidentiality of SGX enclaves. We show that when the branch prediction of the enclave code can be influenced by programs outside the enclave, the control flow of the enclave program can be temporarily altered to execute instructions that lead to observable cache-state changes. An adversary observing such changes can learn secrets inside the enclave memory or its internal registers, thus completely defeating the confidentiality guarantee offered by SGX. Second, to determine whether real-world enclave programs are impacted by the attacks, we develop techniques to automate the search of vulnerable code patterns in enclave binaries using symbolic execution. Our study suggests that nearly any enclave program could be vulnerable to SgxPectre Attacks since vulnerable code patterns are available in most SGX runtimes (e.g., Intel SGX SDK, Rust-SGX, and Graphene-SGX). Third, we apply SgxPectre Attacks to steal seal keys and attestation keys frommore »
SpecSafe: detecting cache side channels in a speculative world
The high-profile Spectre attack and its variants have revealed that speculative execution may leave secret-dependent footprints in the cache, allowing an attacker to learn confidential data. However, existing static side-channel detectors either ignore speculative execution, leading to false negatives, or lack a precise cache model, leading to false positives. In this paper, somewhat surprisingly, we show that it is challenging to develop a speculation-aware static analysis with precise cache models: a combination of existing works does not necessarily catch all cache side channels. Motivated by this observation, we present a new semantic definition of security against cache-based side-channel attacks, called Speculative-Aware noninterference (SANI), which is applicable to a variety of attacks and cache models. We also develop SpecSafe to detect the violations of SANI. Unlike other speculation-aware symbolic executors, SpecSafe employs a novel program transformation so that SANI can be soundly checked by speculation-unaware side-channel detectors. SpecSafe is shown to be both scalable and accurate on a set of moderately sized benchmarks, including commonly used cryptography libraries.
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- Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages
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- 1 to 28
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Cache-based side channels are becoming an important attack vector through which secret information can be leaked to malicious parties. implementations and Previous work on cache-based side channel detection, however, suffers from the code coverage problem or does not provide diagnostic information that is crucial for applying mitigation techniques to vulnerable software. We propose CaSym, a cache-aware symbolic execution to identify and report precise information about where side channels occur in an input program. Compared with existing work, CaSym provides several unique features: (1) CaSym enables verification against various attack models and cache models, (2) unlike many symbolic-execution systems for bug finding, CaSym verifies all program execution paths in a sound way, (3) CaSym uses two novel abstract cache models that provide good balance between analysis scalability and precision, and (4) CaSym provides sufficient information on where and how to mitigate the identified side channels through techniques including preloading and pinning. Evaluation on a set of crypto and database benchmarks shows that CaSym is effective at identifying and mitigating side channels, with reasonable efficiency.
To improve processor performance, computer architects have adopted such acceleration techniques as speculative execution and caching. However, researchers have recently discovered that this approach implies inherent security flaws, as exploited by Meltdown and Spectre. Attacks targeting these vulnerabilities can leak protected data through side channels such as data cache timing by exploiting mis-speculated executions. The flaws can be catastrophic because they are fundamental and widespread and they affect many modern processors. Mitigating the effect of Meltdown is relatively straightforward in that it entails a software-based fix which has already been deployed by major OS vendors. However, to this day, there is no effective mitigation to Spectre. Fixing the problem may require a redesign of the architecture for conditional execution in future processors. In addition, a Spectre attack is hard to detect using traditional software-based antivirus techniques because it does not leave traces in traditional log files. In this paper, we proposed to monitor microarchitectural events such as cache misses, branch mispredictions from existing CPU performance counters to detect Spectre during attack runtime. Our detector was able to achieve 0% false negatives with less than 1% false positives using various machine learning classifiers with a reasonable performance overhead.
We introduce Blade, a new approach to automatically and efficiently eliminate speculative leaks from cryptographic code. Blade is built on the insight that to stop leaks via speculative execution, it suffices to cut the dataflow from expressions that speculatively introduce secrets ( sources ) to those that leak them through the cache ( sinks ), rather than prohibit speculation altogether. We formalize this insight in a static type system that (1) types each expression as either transient , i.e., possibly containing speculative secrets or as being stable , and (2) prohibits speculative leaks by requiring that all sink expressions are stable. Blade relies on a new abstract primitive, protect , to halt speculation at fine granularity. We formalize and implement protect using existing architectural mechanisms, and show how Blade’s type system can automatically synthesize a minimal number of protect s to provably eliminate speculative leaks. We implement Blade in the Cranelift WebAssembly compiler and evaluate our approach by repairing several verified, yet vulnerable WebAssembly implementations of cryptographic primitives. We find that Blade can fix existing programs that leak via speculation automatically , without user intervention, and efficiently even when using fences to implement protect .
Abstract—Recent work has demonstrated the security risk associated with micro-architecture side-channels. The cache timing side-channel is a particularly popular target due to its availability and high leakage bandwidth. Existing proposals for defending cache side-channel attacks either degrade cache performance and/or limit cache sharing, hence, should only be invoked when the system is under attack. A lightweight monitoring mechanism that detects malicious micro-architecture manipulation in realistic environments is essential for the judicious deployment of these defense mechanisms. In this paper, we propose PREDATOR, a cache side-channel attack detector that identifies cache events caused by an attacker. To detect side-channel attacks in noisy environments, we take advantage of the observation that, unlike non-specific noises, an active attacker alters victim’s micro-architectural states on security critical accesses and thus causes the victim extra cache events on those accesses. PREDATOR uses precise performance counters to collect detailed victim’s access information and analyzes location-based deviations. PREDATOR is capable of detecting five different attacks with high accuracy and limited performance overhead in complex noisy execution environments. PREDATOR remains effective even when the attacker slows the attack rate by 256 times. Furthermore, PREDATOR is able to accurately report details about the attack such as the instruction that accessesmore »